Edward Szymanski: Republicans: a call for decency
St. Augustine said, “If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times.” He also meant the inverse to be true: If we live bad lives, the times are also bad. And this is where we are now.
I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, such as the deep state, peddled by President Trump, but there may very well be a dark state in the form of virulent, racist underbelly of the population that has emerged into the light, emboldened by a president who skillfully panders to his supporters’ bigotry and internet-driven misinformation.
This is his repugnant genius. Does he agree with his base or is he manipulating them? A Svengali whose every lie is taken as truth, who takes up the false Republican alarm of voter fraud, and fearing the loss of a second term, goes further by claiming that the mail-in vote will be rigged. A president who suggsts that Gotterdammerung is just around the corner if he loses the election.
Just because reason has eluded the Republican Senate, whose members have exhibited cowardice in their lack of response to Trump’s more pernicious policies, doesn’t mean reason should be abandoned by the Republican voter.
Was Trump’s cruel, misbegotten family separation immigration policy reasonable? If Jesus Christ walked the Earth today, does any Christian think that Jesus would condone Trump’s actions? Was Trump’s slow response to the coronavirus reasonable? His refusal (or inability) to act responsibly caused a delay in action that could have saved lives.
Trump’s failure to lead during this crisis is abhorrent. People look up to their leaders. Subsequently, if he had declared war on this pandemic, most of his supporters would have taken the outbreak seriously and we wouldn’t see the surges in deaths and positive cases that we are seeing today. Instead, incredulously, we actually have some citizens who think the pandemic is a hoax even in light of a death toll of more than 222,000. This is not rational.
Was the president’s rash response in sending federal officers to confront protesters in our cities reasonable? Under the guise of protecting federal property, the president attempted to restrict the right to freedom of speech. He superseded a state’s right to use its own available means to deal with a situation within its purview. It was a blatant show of force merely designed to puff up the president’s chest with a display of power.
There has to be at least a few Republican congressional representatives who are opposed to Trumpian policy but they have been silent and sacrificed their integrity for the sake of re-election. It is up to Republican constituencies to stand up against a president who has consistently denigrated democratic values and has disregarded the Constitution.
I call on conservatives to align themselves with the Republicans of the Lincoln Project and not white supremacists. Paying allegiance to a president who is not emblematic of our democratic ideals, especially in regards to justice and equality, is misplaced allegiance. Waving the flag is not patriotic unless you actually believe in the American democracy it represents and not in a president who hoodwinks the conservative hoi polloi with falsehoods.
The apparent dualism in Trump’s manner of governing should be a concern to all. On one hand he talks up freedom and uses fear to demonize catchwords like “liberal,” “socialist,” and even, “Democrat,” and then on the other hand he brandishes an authoritarianism in many of his policies that should repel even the conservative voter.
This authoritarianism should be denounced by all because not only does it exist outside of us, but has the potential to reside in each of us, and only its rejection can pave the way to a common humanity. As President Lincoln, referencing biblical passages, stated, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Finally, this is one Vietnam vet who believes in an America that represents freedom, justice, and equality for all. Not in a country twisted by a demagogue to maintain his power or one party’s thirst for absolute power. I find this president to be hopelessly unqualified and inept, and utterly devious and dishonest in his intentions. He is an emperor with no clothes who is essentially a hollow, empty shell of a man.
Edward Szymanski lives in Nevada City.
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